There was a buzz around Malaysia Thursday as the nation came to terms with one of the most dramatic political shifts in its history. Overnight, around 3 a.m., the ruling party that had fiercely retained power for all 61 years after independence fell; an opposition bloc swept the parliamentary elections.
The national polls, once seen as a pro forma exercise rolled out every five years to hand Barisan National (BN) another term, had suddenly, and decisively become an opportunity to catalyze change.
“I’m so happy for my country right now. Never in a million years would I have imagined this would happen,” says Chan, a retiree from outside the capital Kuala Lumpur. “Maybe in KL [Kuala Lumpur] we would win every seat. But to win a majority in parliament? Astounding.”